Cloaked in a rhetoric of commercial promise, Joseph Desler Costa’s pictures appear, with glossy sheen, fresh off an assembly line. At first glance they present a seemingly impenetrable surface of salesmanship, a mere costuming over the artist’s searching through his own memory for products of promise that have shaped his upbringing. Costa finds an inseparable link between aesthetics and desire, allowing his own pictures to succumb to that aesthetics as a means to reveal the inner workings of them. In his pictures, consumer staples like Nike shoes and McDonald’s fries are mixed with sparse fragments of recreated memories rendered with foggy vagueness. What Costa produces is a masquerade of a masquerade, subverting the idealist promise of commerce and blending memory and desire into hypnotic echo of an echo of the real. What things may satisfy us? What convinces us of their satisfying qualities? How do pictures sell things, or inversely, how can a picture help but not be an advertisement for itself? And what of our own desire really belongs to us, and what has been implanted via the stealthy pointy end of a well made picture?
Joseph Desler Costa
The artists in this exhibition reflect on notions of paradise, idealism, and fantasy through a broad spectrum of photographic strategies. Together, the works here represent competing visual rhetoric spanning commercialism, irony, sincerity, observational and interpretative documentary, camp, appropriation, tableaux, personal narrative, and impartial photographic philosophies….